Where John Roberts is taking the Supreme Court

By | July 5, 2019

Garrett Epps writes:

Last year’s Supreme Court term ended with a vivid display of willed gullibility by Chief Justice John Roberts. In Hawaii v. Trump, the “travel ban” case, Roberts announced he would pay no attention to that Islamophobia behind the curtain and instead treat the ban as a “facially neutral policy denying certain foreign nationals the privilege of admission.” This year’s term ended with the same man stating in Department of Commerce v. New York, the census case, that he would not ignore the government’s lies: “We are ‘not required to exhibit a naiveté from which ordinary citizens are free.’”

Donald Trump’s administration, in both of these cases and in ever so many others, lied in its high-profile submissions to various federal courts. Until last week, the response of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has been to put its fingers in its ears and proclaim, like Miracle Max in The Princess Bride, “Nobody’s hearing nothing!”

The fact that Roberts decided, in at least one case, that he would no longer play rubber-stamp judge is a huge development; much of the future of our democracy depends on whether this was a cosmetic move by a reluctant Trump supporter or a genuine renaissance of Roberts’s judicial conscience. [Continue reading…]

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